kmart

Kmart ad promotes produts and ridiculous grammar

August 5, 2013
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kmart Kmart ad promotes produts and ridiculous grammar

Kmart commercials entertain and appall

Last year, Minnesota-based child stars, Y.N.RichKids lit up the web with their viral hit, “Hot Cheetos and Takis,” and have now rebranded as Da Rich Kidzz and are getting mainstream visibility through Kmart’s new commercial, “My Limo.” The video has been divided into 30 second bits for television, but has already made the rounds online. The production was developed by DraftFCB Chicago, the same team behind the controversial (and perfectly hilarious) Kmart commercials “Big Gas Savings” and “Ship My Pants,” which had people in a giant tizzy over their offensiveness.

Take a look at their newest music video commercial:
[pl_video type="youtube" id="aTpb37WY0eA"]

Interesting observations

Did you notice that the focus is on going back to school? Did you also notice that grammar was murdered in cold blood through the lyrics? You see the irony, don’t you? Go back to school, kids, but please worry more about what color your shirt is than grammar – books are for nerds.

The nearest Kmart is nearly an hour and a half away from where I live, I wasn’t going to shop there in the first place, and I thought the formerly controversial commercials were hilarious. Additionally, I am a lifelong rap fan – the more bass and cuss words, the better – I failed a paper in middle school for asserting in detail that Tupac was a poet. I think these kids have amazing skills and I think they are destined for a few years of limelight and I’m betting at least one of them will be big time in a few years.



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So why the fuss? Why say grammar is lying dead on the floor? Who cares, right? I care. Kmart is using children to sell to children and the focus is on going back to school, which happens to be the home of education, of self improvement, of rising above, and this video’s insistence on remaining authentic to the genre and using phrases like “the first day be kind of whack” and “right quick” along with multiple painful instances of “ain’t no” reiterate to children that these phrases they have learned socially are correct – why else would it be on tv on a commercial produced by non-rap adults? “Chauffeur, you know fo sho” is perfectly acceptable because it is slang, it still has the bones of proper grammar, but why so many double negatives, Kmart?!

When one of our kids was in middle school, they insisted “I seen” was correct and “I had seen” was incorrect – our child is extremely smart, but it just hadn’t come up in school before and she seen it on the news with us (coming out of the mouth of a cable news guest), so assumed she wasn’t making a mistake.

This isn’t a call to boycott Kmart, and certainly not a commentary on the hard work of these kids, but more of an eye roll that a commercial aimed at kids going to school would utilize improper grammar. With a few tweaks, this could have been an amazing way to promote a kiddie rap group to other kids, but instead it reinforced bad grammar habits. Kmart, you can do better. Please don’t reinforce bad grammar behavior in my children when marketing to them, please.

AGBeat Chief Operating Officer: Lani, named 100 Most Influential, as well as 12 Most Influential Women in Blogging, Bashh Founder, Out and about in Austin A Lister, is a business and tech writer and startup consultant hailing from the great state of Texas in the city of Austin. As a digital native, Lani is immersed not only in advanced technologies and new media, but is also a stats nerd often buried in piles of reports. Lani is a proven leader, thoughtful speaker, and vested partner at AGBeat.



Weigh in...

  • http://www.donald-harris.com Donald Harris

    So, I get your concern for grammar. It makes me nervous to even type this up, because I know I will drop a comma or use poor grammar myself. However, I still disagree with you on this. I think this commercial is using the “rap form” as an entertaining way to reach kids. Yes, it has bad grammar and yes, it focuses on looks over actual education. But, all I see are young children showing a positive interest in going back to school. This commercial will reach children who are fans of rap and for once it will be a rap song that is not glorifying violence or drug use. Do you remember past commercials where they hired actors to “rap” and it was painful watch and listen to? And furthermore, their message was lost in translation. I am glad they didn’t do that here. These kids are authentic and their message will land on ears that will listen. I would love more of this please. Now the question is: in the future can they make a rap with better grammar? Probably so, just make sure it sounds good.

    • Lani Rosales

      @donaldharris:disqus you’ve made some VERY excellent points (and I share your nervousness about grammar missteps when addressing grammar). You’ve touched on something that I hadn’t put deep thought into (enthusiasm about school), so thank you for that and thank you for taking the time to read, digest, and comment meaningfully.

      I don’t expect a future of rap with proper grammar, because the genre typically leans heavily on (a) rhyming and (b) slang, both of which tend to place grammar second. I would never ask rappers to change their craft because I love the art.

      I do maintain, however, that it is obnoxiously ironic that they are promoting to my kids by using kids that are using poor grammar. In the kids’ Cheetos and Takis rap video, it didn’t even impact me one bit that the grammar was questionable – it was nothing more than a music video… but Kmart uses an agency and the ad goes through endless editing and tweaking – it wouldn’t have been difficult to clean up the double negatives (at least clean that up, gah!).

      Want to know the saddest part that I didn’t even address? Many teachers are not even correcting these mistakes, many committing them themselves.

      Sigh.

      • http://www.donald-harris.com Donald Harris

        Heh, back in the day I used to actually work the social media scene between Dell Inc and K12 teachers. One of the more eye opening things is what a real teacher is as well as their real dedication :) But yes back to the topic you are right it is super ironic that its a back to school commercial with poor grammar :)